Not unexpectedly, one of the longest of Days of '47 celebration traditions - the 41st annual Salt Lake Philharmonic Pops Concert - was, well . . . pretty much traditional.
Maestro Eugene Jelesnik conducted, and Billie Loukas and Robert Peterson sang everything from Cole Porter to George Gershwin to Franz Lehar and Georges Bizet and back to Cole Porter again.There were light classical favorites mixed in with Broadway showstoppers, fiery Latin-tempoed tunes and sprightly marches.
And there were some nice surprises, including harmonica artist Danny Welton, who got his very own standing ovation (and well-deserved, too) for his solo rendition of "St. Louis Blues."
Other Welton favorites were an a cappella arrangement of "Malaguena," the old Harmonicats' hit, "Pet O' My Heart," Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are," and Welton's signature tune, "Ruby," the theme song from "Ruby Gentry," which he first recorded when he was just out of high school in Les Baxter's smash-hit arrangement for the 1952 Jennifer Jones film.
For the nearly 5,000 Philharmonic fans in the Salt Palace arena Tuesday night, Welton was a real crowd-pleaser, demonstrating the phenomenal range of reedy sounds he drew from his instruments.
Welton used a tiny, 1-inch harmonica to perform a medley of early Americana and Civil War tunes, but his own personal favorite - and one the audience enjoyed, too - was his rendition of Chuck Mangione's "Children of Sanchez."
One unusual segment of the program was a "Musical Weather Report" spotlighting prominent meteorologist Mark Eubank. He didn't sing (except to bring up the rear in the quartet finale of "In the Good Old Summertime"), but he helped set the mood for the Philharmonic's medley of weather-related tunes - "Stormy Weather" (Eubank's favorite kind of atmospheric condition), "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow" (which it will, presumably, in another four or five months), and songs that were part of his long-range forecast: "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head," "Heat Wave" (sometime in August); "Autumn Leaves" (for a pleasant fall drive through the canyons), and "Singin' in the Rain."
For his five-day forecast, Eubank went into some rapid-fire double-talk which, musically translated, meant he saw nothing but "Blue Skies" from now on.
And - according to Days of '47 Celebration Chairman Flip Harmon - from now on through July 24, Salt Lakers can expect one exciting activity after another: parades, rodeos, street dances, entertainment and other events in observance of the arrival of the Mormon Pioneers in 1847.
Salt Lake County and Days of '47 leaders were introduced (including the notorious wild cow milking team of Barker, Stewart and Shimizu - who bear a remarkable resemblance to members of the Salt Lake County Commission), and the 1990 Days of '47 royalty.